The Buffalo Sabres took the ice for practice Thanksgiving morning at First Niagara Center. Though their three-game winning streak was snapped the night before with a 2-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets, they feel like they can build on the way they played in the third period.
They outscored the Jets 1-0, outshot their opponent 10-7 in the final 20 minutes and came close to tying the game in the dying seconds on a wrist shot by Zemgus Girgensons.
“We won the third period but unfortunately it wasn’t enough,” forward Marcus Foligno said. “You learn from it and we’ve got another good team in Montreal coming in.”
The Sabres host the first half of a home-and-home against the Canadiens on Friday. They’ll travel after the game for a match at Bell Centre on Saturday.
LOWRY HAS HEARING FOR HIT ON KALETA
During the second period of the game against Winnipeg, Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta, playing in only his second game of the season was boarded behind the Jets net by Adam Lowry. Chris Stewart came to Kaleta’s defense, though he received a roughing minor, didn’t negate the five-minute power play that came as a result.
“You’ve got to stick up for your teammates. You’ve got to do it for anyone and especially a guy like Patty Kaleta. He’s a heart-and-soul guy,” Stewart said.
“You’ve got to be smart about it. You definitely don’t want to hurt the team or take away the power play but you’ve got to let guys know that that’s unacceptable and guys are going to stick up for their teammates around here.”
Lowry has a hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety on Thursday. He received a five-minute boarding major and a 10-minute game misconduct on the play.
Kaleta was able to return to the game and was on the ice for Stewart’s goal early in the third, which cut the Jets’ lead down to one.
MISSING FROM ACTION
Tyler Myers and Cody Hodgson missed practice. Myers was scratched from Wednesday night’s game with a lower-body injury and received more medical treatment on Thursday.
Nolan has his fingers crossed that Myers will be ready for the team’s game Friday night against Montreal.
“We’re banking – we’re hoping,” Nolan said. “Right now, it’s probably 50/50.”
Hodgson was excused from practice for personal reasons. He’s expected to be ready to go for Friday.
GORGES AT LEAST DAY-TO-DAY
Josh Gorges skated with the team again at practice. He’s currently on injured reserve for a lower-body ailment sustained on Nov. 11.
He hopes to be ready for this weekend’s slate of games and said he’s making progress in his recovery every day. But he and the coaching and medical staffs will make sure he’s totally ready to go before he’s put back in a game situation.
“I’ve got to be smart and make sure that if I do come back and play, first of all I don’t put my team in jeopardy. If I’m not effective, I’m only hurting my team,” Gorges said.
“At the same time, I have to make sure I don’t go too early where something happens and I’m out for another two or three weeks again which is counter-productive. As much as I want to be back, we’ve got to be smart at the same time.”
With both Myers and Gorges out of the lineup on Wednesday, the defensive corps was without two of its steadiest players. It wasn’t the cleanest of games for the defensemen out there and while Nolan lauded the play of 20-year-old Rasmus Ristolainen, he would like to see a better effort from his blue liners.
“We have to make sure the people making those mistakes don’t do them again or again and again,” he said. “And the ones who are growing up and developing, they can learn from it and hopefully not do it in their careers too often.”
With it being Thanksgiving in America, a few of the players shared with Sabres.com what they’re thankful for this year.
26 Matt Moulson – 28 Zemgus Girgensons – 63 Tyler Ennis
65 Brian Flynn – 17 Torrey Mitchell – 12 Brian Gionta
44 Nicolas Deslauriers – 21 Drew Stafford
82 Marcus Foligno – 36 Patrick Kaleta – 80 Chris Stewart
8 Cody McCormick (non-contact)
51 Nikita Zadorov – 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
24 Tyson Strachan – 41 Andrej Meszaros
6 Mike Weber – 61 Andre Benoit
4 Josh Gorges
1 Jhonas Enroth
34 Michal Neuvirth
Did Not Skate: 19 Cody Hodgson, 57 Tyler Myers
Goaltender Matt Hackett, who’s recovering from a knee injury sustained in April, took the ice after practice wrapped up.